At a Glance
Located about 30 minutes southwest of Portland, in Sherwood, Oregon, our 50-acre property is nestled within the Chehalem Mountains of Willamette Valley Wine Country. Hawks View's sustainably-farmed vineyards produce exceptional Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. With the breathtaking views and inviting tasting rooms, guests can gather, connect, and relax while enjoying world-class wine.
From Then to Now
In 2003, Jack Kemp and his family embarked on a dream to farm the land and grow grapes of exceptional quality. Then in 2007, under the name Hawks View Cellars, Jack combined a world-class winemaking facility with a warm, inviting place to bring friends and family together. Hawks View Cellars became one of the great loves of Jack's life. After Jack's passing, his wife, Willie, and son, A.J., carried on his vision.
In the Summer of 2017, Ponte Family Estate became the new owner of Hawks View Winery! With the experience of operating and co-owning two wineries and a hotel in Temecula, California, for 18 years, they are focused on maintaining Hawks View’s mission of crafting exceptional wine and providing an authentic guest experience.
Our Managing Partner's Oregon Story
The Pontes are originally from the Friuli region in Italy, prior to emigrating to Venezuela and ultimately to San Diego. Claudio Ponte and his family co-own and manage their other wineries, and a hotel, in California. Claudio has managed his vineyard in California since 1984. He has always loved Oregon and had been looking for a winery and vineyard here for several years. This is the story, in his own words:
It all started in a salmon cannery. It was my first job. I was a high-school junior at the time and some stupid behavior on my part gave my parents the idea to "punish" me by sending me to work in rainy Astoria, Oregon. My prison for that summer was to be the Bumble Bee Salmon Cannery. Located on the waterfront at the end of a pier, it's now a nice museum with a brewery, a coffee shop, and fancy condos nearby. The cannery motto was "Work is our Joy", which worried me tremendously at the time. I now realize it sounds ominously similar to the message at the gates of German concentration camps.
Despite my misgivings, I spent a great three months there, working in the cold and slimy cannery from 7 am to 3 pm, but enjoying the long afternoons and weekends cruising up and down the coast with a bunch of older boys and girls. From the deserted beaches to the mountains, and all along the immense river, there was a vast expanse of stately evergreens. Having grown up in the tropics, the scenery was amazing to me. We'd drive east along the Columbia River (after crossing the bridge to the Washington side) and then cross back to Portland, the “big city.” Other times, we'd go fishing and we'd sneak a beer or two. Nothing too exotic but incredible to me at the time. And that was that -- I fell in love with Oregon.
Before I knew it, my "sentence" was up and I got a telegram from my mother asking me to pack up and return home as school was about to start. I sold the jalopy I'd bought on arrival for the same $200 bucks I paid for it and said bye to the ladies at the gutting line thinking I'd never see any of them again. I did promise my new friends I would return someday. Sadly, like many teenage friendships, they were quickly forgotten as we all got on with our lives.
Fast forward 45 years. After graduating from college in the US and a busy business career including vineyard and winery work, I looked for an opportunity to buy something in Oregon, maybe a small ranch or a vacation cottage, so as to have an excuse to visit. But after running a winery in California for 14 years and a lifetime of drinking all sorts of wines, I experienced a fairly common phenomenon: As we get into our forties and fifties, many of us become devotees of Burgundian-style wines. My solution? Find a boutique winery in the Willamette Valley. I looked for two years, and finally, the "right one" came along: Hawks View Winery. Like Oregon, Hawks View was love at first sight.
I always laugh when I see the look on our friends' faces when they first see Hawks View with Mt. Hood towering in the eastern horizon. Jaw-dropping amazement is an understatement. All of us still pinch ourselves when we drive the loop down to Amity (via Yamhill and Carlton) and then back to Sherwood, always stopping to taste our friends’ wines here and there, of course. Wow.
However, after talking to many of our new neighbors and guests I realize that many take for granted what we have in the Willamette Valley. Most of us are aware of wine country and that Oregon makes good Pinots, but that's about it. Oregonians in the wine industry know and appreciate this of course, but they have spent their lives making wine and selling it in Dallas, Chicago, and New York. As a result, the average "cork dork" in Minneapolis knows more about the viticultural areas of the Willamette than a waiter in Portland. The French? They know. That's why they are paying big bucks for wineries like Beaux Freres.
Part of our mission here is to share our growing understanding of the Chehalem Mountains appellation with our neighboring communities in Oregon, and with our wine club members in California. This hill of dirt, Laurelwood over volcanic basalt, was formed in the last twenty thousand years from the windblown silty loams of the Missoula flood. The wines grown here have bright red fruit, with an earthiness and nice acidity, making them perfect to go with high-end food. They are very different from Dundee or other areas to the south and west. But they are exactly what I was looking for. The Chehalem Mountains AVA makes wines as elegant as a string of pearls. No chin scratcher wines for us, no ma’am.
We are so lucky that Jack Kemp had the vision, the passion, and the financial means to buy this amazing vineyard and build this gorgeous winery. It was also lucky that his wife, Willie, and his son, AJ, continued his efforts after Jack's untimely passing. It is now up to us, with your help, to continue the love story.